The Columbus Police Department arrested a Columbus man Monday morning after witnesses reported he exposed himself outside Stokes-Beard Elementary School.
Samuel Washington, 19, was witnessed by several passersby with his pants pulled down past his thighs while making lewd motions on the sidewalk to the north of the school.
Children were on the playground to the school”s north at the time, but construction between the playground and the street likely obstructed their view.
Johnny Hampton, of Columbus, was driving home after working the night shift at Severstal when he drove past Washington. Hampton turned around and pulled to the side of the street near Washington to call the police. He says Washington continued to expose himself for nearly five minutes.
Natasha Williams, of Columbus, also witnessed Washington. She says when Washington finished he pulled his pants up and waved at her before casually walking to 2520 Fifth Ave. N., three houses down from the school.
A third witness told CPD Officer Michael Griffin which house Washington had entered. Griffin detained Washington without incident until Officer Donnie Elkin arrived on the scene and decided to place Washington under arrest.
Washington”s mother, who identified herself only as Rose when reached for comment at her place of employment, said Washington has a history of mental illness. She wouldn”t elaborate on the manner of mental illness, but said Washington had a been arrested previously for damaging her home.
“I don”t know why the judge didn”t put him in the hospital the last time,” she said.
CPD Capt. Fred Shelton said Washington has been arrested twice for domestic violence and aggravated assault. However, the charges were dismissed, which Shelton says generally follows when an offender is ordered to undergo mental health treatment.
Larry Johnson, a neighbor, said Washington is frequently seen walking around the neighborhood at night acting erratically. He says Washington comes outside in various states of undress.
“He really needs help. They need to get him some kind of treatment,” said Johnson.
Griffin was also familiar with Washington prior to Monday”s incident.
“He usually does this stuff at night,” said Griffin.
Pamela Barr-Lenoir, principal of Stokes-Beard, said Washington has never come to her attention or posed a problem to the school.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.